Proof that every derivative idea that floats through Hollywood requires at least two versions, Nu Image/Millennium is pushing forward with their own “‘Die Hard‘ in the White House” film now that Sony/Columbia purchased James Vanderbilt‘s spec script “White House Down,” at the end of last month, for a whopping $3 million.
But wait. Nu Image/Millennium’s “Olympus Has Fallen” was actually first, with screenwriters Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt selling their script to Millennium in early March with Gerard Butler already attached to star and produce. With Sony’s “White House Down” gaining steam, Nu Image/Millennium wants first blood, fast-tracking ‘Olympus’ and, according to THR, offering the director’s chair to Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day“). Fuqua’s last film, 2009’s “Brooklyn’s Finest,” was for Nu Image/Millennium, and ‘Olympus’ could finally bring him back behind the camera after an extended break now that the director’s schedule is free (after the “24” movie bit the dust and Fuqua dropped out of the Arnold Schwarzenegger–Sylvester Stallone vehicle “The Tomb“).
‘Olympus‘ will be the third attempt for Fuqua to work with Butler. Previously, the director and actor were supposed to team for the sci-fi action film “Afterburn” (but that went nowhere), as well as the thriller “Hunter Killer,” which was reportedly set to start shooting this winter, before it disappeared off the face of the Earth. In February, OnLocationsVacations reported that “Hunter Killer” might shoot in Alaska, but there’s been little word since. Coincidentally, that film would have seen Butler play a submarine captain who must save a Russian president, while “Olympus Has Fallen” will see Butler play an ex-secret service agent who must protect the U.S. President from an attack at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Yippee ki yay, Gerard!
Should Fuqua’s deal get finalized, Nu Image/Millennium is targeting “Olympus” for a June production start, months before the recently hired Roland Emmerich can start rolling on “White House Down.”